Certain security risks are associated with the handling, processing
and disposal of magnetic media. An increasing range of computer,
communication, recording and entertainment systems use magnetic
media such as floppy and hard disks, reels, cassettes and tapes
and it is not sufficient to ‘record over’ existing media.
Computer hard drives could hold information that companies would
not wish to fall into the hands of competitors, or, computer reels
may have data that could infringe the data protection laws should
they be disposed of in the wrong way. There are undoubtedly many
examples of more serious risks.
The UK Government, through the Cabinet Office has established a
specification, administered by the CESG (Communications-Electronics
Security Group) which specifies the performance levels of degaussers
needed to destroy and render UK Government media secure. The CESG
Degaussing Standard is the new UK government standard from the Communication-Electronics
Security Group for certifying that the claims made about the security
functionality of degaussers have been independently verified and
The CESG Degaussing standard replaces the SEAP 8500 Degaussing
Standard on which Verity Systems ‘S’ model degaussers
were granted TOP SECRET status. The new CESG standard has two levels
Lower Level - for RESTRICTED and below.
Higher Level - for CONFIDENTIAL and above
Currently all ‘S’ model degaussers are approved at
the Lower Level. This means any magnetic media (holding RESTRICTED
or less) may be regarded as NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED after being
In order to achieve Higher Level status, all degaussers must be
retested against the new CESG Degaussing Standard. At this time,
the testing standard is not yet available.
The ‘S’ model degaussers may still be used to degauss
magnetic media at CONFIDENTIAL and above, but the degaussed media
is subject to additional handling requirements (detailed in S(E)N